EQAR NEWSLETTER APRIL 2019
Latest decisions Register Committee | DEQAR pilot study by University of Ghent | EQAR General Assembly | New governmental member | DEQAR update | New staff member at EQAR
Latest decisions Register Committee
The EQAR Register Committee gathered in Bucharest at the University Politehnica on 2 and 3 April. With a busy year ahead, this was the first of three (instead of the usual two) Committee meetings scheduled for 2019. The Committee concluded that the following four agencies operate in substantial compliance with the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG):
- HAC - Hungarian Accreditation Committee
Renewals of registration:
- ARACIS - Romanian Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education
- IEP - EUA-Institutional Evaluation Programme
- SQAA - Slovenian Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education
The Register now includes 46 quality assurance agencies from 25 European countries.
DEQAR pilot study by the University of Ghent
Our DEQAR project partner researchers Jeroen Huisman and Maria Manatos of UGent - the Centre for Higher Education Governance Ghent (CHEGG) have been using the database as a basis for two pilot pan-European comparative studies into how higher education institutions respond to the needs of students and society, based on thousands of external quality assurance reports being available in DEQAR. The first pilot study has just been published.
The researchers have provided a comprehensive analysis on how quality assurance agencies translate the ESG for external quality assurance, for two specific standards related to programmes’ design, approval and monitoring (ESG 1.2) and on-going monitoring and periodic reviews of programmes (ESG 1.9). The analysis covered the institutional external quality assurance reports from Croatia, Estonia, Finland and Portugal.
The results show that the influence of the ESG in the institutional external quality assurance reports of agencies is unquestionable, however the degree of implementation and translation differs depending on the focus and the models of institutional external quality assurance. The interpretation of the ESG appears to be nationally ‘coloured’, the most ‘ad literam’ translation can be seen in Croatia and Estonia, while in Portugal there are some items strongly linked to the national higher education policy (such as national and international collaboration policies). A more open interpretation is visible in Finland.
The study also points out that one could not find significant differences, particular patterns or trends between types of institutions in the implementation of the ESG (private vs public, colleges vs universities, polytechnics or universities of applied sciences vs universities, foundations vs non foundations).
Read more and download the pilot study (link to news item on website) : https://www.eqar.eu/first-deqar-pilot-study-published/
EQAR General Assembly
EQAR’s 15th General Assembly (GA) was held at the University Politehnica of Bucharest on 3 April. As is tradition, the meeting was organised in conjunction with the Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG) meeting, held on 4-5 April. The Minister of National Education of Romania, Ecaterina Andronescu, opened the meeting together with EQAR President Karl Dittrich.
During a thematic session on Current Trends and Policy Developments, two presentations were given:
- Peer-Support for the EHEA Key Commitment on QA by Magalie Soenen, Flemish Community of Belgium, Co-Chair of the Thematic Peer Group on QA.
- Update on DEQAR State of Play by Colin Tück and Kathryn Mathe, EQAR.
Apart from the yearly recurring agenda items such as the annual accounts, the budget, the work plan and the annual report, which were reviewed and adopted by the GA, a number of elections were held:
Register Committee: The General Assembly approved the nominations to the Register Committee for a two-year mandate, starting on 1 July 2019. Three new members were nominated: Eltjo Bazen and Patricia Georgieva (by EURASHE ) and Jacques Lanares (by EUA). All other Register Committee members were re-nominated.
Executive Board: Gohar Hovhannisyan, member of the ESU Executive Committee, was by-elected to the EQAR Executive Board, replacing ESU President Adam Gajek, who will finish his term by June 2019.
Appeals Committee: The General Assembly elected a new Chair, Paul Zoontjes, and Deputy Chair, Jiri Nantl. The remaining members and deputy-member were re-elected.
Slovakia becomes governmental member of EQAR
We are delighted to announce that EQAR membership grew further: our newest governmental member is Slovakia, whom we warmly welcome. EQAR now counts 41 governmental members who are involved in the overall governance of EQAR. More about governmental membership in EQAR
"Slovakia’s governmental membership of EQAR is in line with the intention to revise the Slovak external quality assurance system in higher education. Following the adoption of the new Act on Quality Assurance in Higher Education in September 2018, Slovakia has begun the process of setting up the newly established Slovak Accreditation Agency for Higher Education, which is expected to start operating in 2019. The current aim is to update the design of the internal and external quality assurance processes with a view to enabling the agency to qualify for membership of ENQA and registration on EQAR in the mid-term future. The resulting quality assurance framework will strengthen the quality culture at local HEIs and will represent an important milestone in the overall improvement of the higher education system in Slovakia", wrote Jozef Jurkovič, Director General for Higher Education at the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport, and representative in the EQAR General Assembly.
The Database for External Quality Assurance Results (DEQAR) continues to grow and develop and we are happy to report a recent surge in the report uploading by EQAR registered agencies.
The latest DEQAR data:
- 9700 reports covering 1607 institutions in 55 countries
- 25 registered agencies uploading reports
- Significant* coverage of higher education institutions in eleven countries: Belgium (Flemish community), Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Spain and Slovenia.
- Growing number of web site visits per month, reaching 834 visits in March with over 2000 unique page views and 274 report downloads.
* Coverage is considered to be significant when reports have been submitted on over 60% of the institutions listed in the European Tertiary Education Register (ETER, https://www.eter-project.com/).
Work in progress:
- We are aiming at 20,000 reports by June 2019, and we expect some substantial uploads in the coming weeks which should take us a long way toward our goal.
- We continue to present DEQAR at higher education events and conferences and are happy to work with those interested in showcasing DEQAR at a local or sector-specific event.
- Work continues on the back end of the system to improve the agencies’ submission experience. We have also put in place a new indexing system which will make possible enhanced search features.
- Infographics: the database will be enhanced with infographics — including heat maps, bar charts and tables allowing data to be compared and tracked over time.
- Data download: our DEQAR Data Dump feature will make it possible to export a full copy of our dataset for individual research purposes.
New staff member at EQAR
The EQAR Secretariat is very pleased to welcome Jelena Šantić Stefanoska, our new Policy and Project Officer. She will support the general operation of the EQAR secretariat, the DEQAR project and the EQAR statutory bodies, especially the Register Committee by analysing applications and reports, as well as review and update information and guidance for applicant agencies. Before joining EQAR, Jelena worked at the Agency for Development of Higher Education and Quality Assurance of Bosnia and Herzegovina and was a member of B&H HERE Team (2014-2017).